Oil – $94 a barrel, as talks between Iran and six powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program seemed to be at an impasse.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was up 24 cents to $94.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for December, which expired Wednesday, closed down 1 cent at $93.33.
A new round of talks on Iran began in Geneva on Wednesday, with both sides indicating a first-step agreement was possible on a deal to roll back the country’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
On Thursday, however, talks were delayed and a senior Iranian envoy suggested that momentum from a previous round had been slowed.
“What we are trying now is to rebuild confidence that we lost in the previous round of negotiations,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told.
The U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany are offering a gradual easing of sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy, raising the possibility of an influx of Iranian oil into world markets at a time of already abundant supplies.
Brent crude, the benchmark for an international variety of crude, was up 22 cents to $108.28 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.